Cheap upgrading the Santa Rosa MacBook Pro 15"

How to upgrade the new LED based Santa Rosa MacBook Pro 15" to 4Gig RAM and 250 Gig HD.

Is the LED display worth a buy: Yes, I think it is. The display is much brighter that on the predecessor and more brilliant.

Is the battery life worth the upgrade: Yes, I think it is. I am coming from a small Sony Vaio with 7hrs battery life. Going to the Generation II MacBook Pro (MBP) 15" 2.33GHz/2GB/160GB MBP got my battery life down to real 2 hours (!). Now I am back to 3hrs with the G3 MBP thanks to the Santa Rosa Chipset and LED display. Good enough. But I wanted it all and more...

But again, I was disappointed by Apples' upgrade policy. In Germany you have to drop an extra 700 EUR / $950 for an upgrade from 2 to 4 GB of RAM. Also, the price difference between the 2.2GHz machine and the 2.4GHz machine (the other two differences are a 120GB instead of 160GB hard drive and 128Meg of video RAM instead of 256) is 500EUR/$680. And you cannot get a 250Meg/5400rpm HD from Apple for the 15" MBP at all. 'nuff for me to get me started.

So I ordered a 2.2GHz/2GB/120GB MBP for 1900EUR/$2580 inkl. VAT (if you are in the US you pay $1999 plus tax) and the extra parts (2x2GB RAM and a 250Gig SATA 2.5" HD). This saves you about 650EUR/$900 and gets you 250Gig HD instead of 160Gig. Not bad.

The parts I ordered were:

Putting the RAM in is easy but the HD is not for the faint hearted. I used the ExtremeTech run-through and it worked fine. The defining moment is when you lift the keyboard and it is stuck at the bottom / track pad. You have to rock it hard to get it out and you only know if it's broken or not when it finally snaps loose.

It now all works fine but there is some drama, has not much to do with the hardware stuff but may be of interest to you...

As I am such a smart guy I had copied the contents of my G2 MBP hard drive to the new 250 GB HD (by putting it into a MacPower SATA 2.5" FW800 enclosure and using Cabon Copy Cloner (do not forget to make the new drive bootable by not choosing Apple partition table but GUID in Disk Manager->Partition->Options)). GUID vs Apple partition table

Great idea - if it only worked. It booted into a Kernel trap (and as my brother remarked even Kernel traps look great on a Mac - not that it helps but it makes you feel more intellectual). I replaced the new RAM with the old RAM (the same), old HD with new HD (the same) until it came to me that this might be a Software issue - the G3 MBP has all new chipsets and stuff - Windows wouldn't boot for sure - Linux may be. So I put in the install disks that come with the machine and everything installed fine. Transferred the settings from my old MBP and all works fine.

I re-checked by trying to install the G2 MBO with the G3 MBP DVD's and yes - it does not work either. So use the new Mac OSX 10.4.9 install disks that come with the G3 MBP and everything will be fine.

So now I got a G3 MBP with 2.2GHZ/4GB/250GB for 2,5kEUR and two nights wasted :)

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